Will ICANNs Move to Throw Open the Floor to Vanity TLDs Change Anything?

At the recent ICANN Singapore meeting the Board approved a plan that opens the doors to a dramatic expansion in the number of available top level domains (TLDs). TLDs, .com for example, are approved and regulated by this international governing body.

According to news reports ICANN will accept applications from registries that want to operate new top-level domains from January 12, 2012 to April 12, 2012.

The application fee is a staggering $185,000, with ongoing costs of $25,000 per annum to operate the registry.

There has been much debate over whether or not ICANN’s move will: a) engender an explosion in the number of TLDs, and b) if those who do move to establish these new registries will make a ripple in the domain market.

In an NPR interview former ICANN Board Chair Esther Dyson commented: “I think it’s kind of a useless market,” she says, “and if I had $185,000, I’d spend it on something else.”

While the jury is still out, many within the domain industry do not expect to see significant changes.

Andrew Allemann of DomainNameWire.com wrote:
I wouldn’t discourage a brand from applying for a top level domain name. The price is peanuts to a big company. But let’s not pretend examples like this — which I hear over and over — are something that is only enabled with the introduction of new TLDs. Will there be innovation with new TLDs? It’s entirely possible. I just hate to hear examples of innovation that aren’t innovative.”

Respected journalist Ron Jackson of DNJournal.com offered this opinion on ICANN’s move:
…as I have said in the past, is that there is no need for countless new TLDs. ICANN has come up with a solution for a “problem” that doesn’t exist.”


Other News This Month:

State of the Domain Name Industry: By The Numbers

Domainers know that while “.com is king”, other TLDs also offer solid investment opportunities. While some of the ccTLDs continue to experience significant growth, the .com and .net TLDs together account for over 109 million registrations, with 9.2% year over year growth in new registrations as of Q1.

We have compiled some statistics from Verisign, Zooknic, and DomainTools to give a statistically focused, top level view of the domain industry to better understand registration trends by TLD and for the industry in general.

As Verisign reports in its May Domain Name Industry Brief: “The first quarter of 2011 closed with a base of more than 209.8 million domain name registrations across all Top Level Domains (TLDs), an increase of 4.5 million domain names, or 2.2 percent over the fourth quarter. Registrations have grown by 15.3 million, or 7.9 percent over the past year.”

According to DomainTools, there are over 95 million active .com addresses, with .net and .org coming in at about 14 and 9 million registrations, respectively.

But did you know that .de is is larger than .net with over 15 million domain names registered?

While the .uk (United Kingdom) and .nl (Netherlands) are a distant second and third in number of domains registered, both these ccTLDs experienced significant growth in Q1 2011–enough for .uk to surpass .org, and .nl to surpass .cn in the number of domain name registrations.

A number of ccTLDs showed significant growth – Australia and Canada exceeded 20% growth year over year gains as of Q1 2011 – though the top 10 ccTLDs remains constant.

Renewal rates seem to rely heavily on the percentage of websites resolving to a site, be it single- or multi-page.

Renewal rates for .com and .net domains jumped to 73.8%, up from 72.7%.

As shown in the chart above, about 88% of all .com/.net sites will resolve to a website of at least a single page.

Domainers know that while “.com is king”, other TLDs also offer solid investment opportunities. While some of the ccTLDs continue to experience significant growth, the .com and .net TLDs together account for over 109 million registrations, with 9.2% year over year growth in new registrations as of Q1.

We have compiled some statistics from Verisign, Zooknic, and DomainTools to give a statistically focused, top level view of the domain industry to better understand registration trends by TLD and for the industry in general.

As Verisign reports in its May Domain Name Industry Brief: “The first quarter of 2011 closed with a base of more than 209.8 million domain name registrations across all Top Level Domains (TLDs), an increase of 4.5 million domain names, or 2.2 percent over the fourth quarter. Regist

Domainers know that while “.com is king”, other TLDs also offer solid investment opportunities. While some of the ccTLDs continue to experience significant growth, the .com and .net TLDs together account for over 109 million registrations, with 9.2% year over year growth in new registrations as of Q1.

We have compiled some statistics from Verisign, Zooknic, and DomainTools to give a statistically focused, top level view of the domain industry to better understand registration trends by TLD and for the industry in general.

As Verisign reports in its May Domain Name Industry Brief: “The first quarter of 2011 closed with a base of more than 209.8 million domain name registrations across all Top Level Domains (TLDs), an increase of 4.5 million domain names, or 2.2 percent over the fourth quarter. Registrations have grown by 15.3 million, or 7.9 percent over the past year.”

According to DomainTools, there are over 95 million active .com addresses, with .net and .org coming in at about 14 and 9 million registrations, respectively.

But did you know that .de is is larger than .net with over 15 million domain names registered?

While the .uk (United Kingdom) and .nl (Netherlands) are a distant second and third in number of domains registered, both these ccTLDs experienced significant growth in Q1 2011–enough for .uk to surpass .org, and .nl to surpass .cn in the number of domain name registrations.

A number of ccTLDs showed significant growth – Australia and Canada exceeded 20% growth year over year gains as of Q1 2011 – though the top 10 ccTLDs remains constant.

rations have grown by 15.3 million, or 7.9 percent over the past year.”

According to DomainTools, there are over 95 million active .com addresses, with .net and .org coming in at about 14 and 9 million registrations, respectively.

But did you know that .de is is larger than .net with over 15 million domain names registered?

While the .uk (United Kingdom) and .nl (Netherlands) are a distant second and third in number of domains registered, both these ccTLDs experienced significant growth in Q1 2011–enough for .uk to surpass .org, and .nl to surpass .cn in the number of domain name registrations.

A number of ccTLDs showed significant growth – Australia and Canada exceeded 20% growth year over year gains as of Q1 2011 – though the top 10 ccTLDs remains constant.

Other News This Month:

Domain Sales By Category YTD

As a regular newsletter feature we are again sharing 2011 category-based sales information from Afternic.

In the chart below, you can see that computers, business and recreation each account for ~11% of domain sales; these percentages have remained essentially constant this year.

In the Computer category the distribution of names sold remained unchanged: Internet-focused domains have dominated, followed by software names.

Professional services comprised the vast majority of “business” category sales, with general business domains in second spot. Industry-specific domain sales jumped up to take the third spot.

Music and pop culture dominated sales in the recreation category, with notable sales in the “Bars & Restaurants” sub-category.

Other News This Month:

Weekly AfternicDLS Sales June 20 – June 26

Weekly Domains Sales Breakdown and Sample

Domain sales for the week of 6/20 – 6/26 included:

  • 113 .com sales of $2,000 or greater with 7 sales of $5,000 or greater
  • There were an additional 111 .com sales in the $1-2,000 range
  • For non-.com sales: there were 17 sales of $2,000 or greater, with 17 additional sales in the $1-2,000 range

Notable sales included chart toppers: sellcar.com at $26,056,   monarchmortgage.com at $15,000, yearbook.org at $15,000, doctors.md at $12,000, muslimlife.com at $11,000, thewinneris.com at $11,000  travita.com at $10,400, powermarketing.com at $10,000 and qunr.com at $10,000.

Domains sold for the week, including unreported private sales totaled 453. Sales in three categories accounted for more than 35% of sales: shopping, business and society.

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Significant ICANN Announcement: General TLD Program Approved

ICANN officials made a significant announcement this week regarding approval of a new TLD program at their Singapore conference.

In a special session ICANN’s Board of Directors approved a new TLD program that may result in the creation of hundreds of new “Top Level Domain Extensions” or “TLDs”.

Applications from potential new TLD hosts will be accepted from January 12, 2012 through April 12, 2012. However, no new domain extensions are expected to be available before November 2013 – almost 2.5 years from now.

There is much speculation about what types of TLDs might actually be created: from generics, like “.money”, to brand-specific TLDs like “.nike” Until then, expect .com and .net for commercial sites and .org for nonprofit sites to remain the gold standard in both domain registrations and in search engine results.

Generally expressed sentiment in the search marketing community expects that these extensions will have little, if any, effect on SEO.

Danny Sullivan of SearchEngineLand.com wrote an article on Monday citing examples of why he believes that search will remain largely unaffected. He noted that the “.travel” TLD was created years ago, but try doing a Google search on ‘travel’. How many “.travel” domains appear in search results? None on the first few pages! This suggesting that even if the extension is a valuable keyword such as ‘travel’, search engines will not provide preferential placement at the top of the rankings.

Even though the potential SEO benefits of these new TLDs may be negligible, many still expect that large corporations and entrepreneurs are likely to pursue a “.[megacorporationname] or a “.lawyer” TLD.

Many of the TLDs established in the past decade still lack substantial visibility in the public eye (e.g. .info or .biz). Competition from hundreds of new TLDsmay simply confuse Internet surfers even more.

That said, this level of customization may ultimately appeal to Internet users.  In the meantime, .com is unlikely to lose it’s place atop the TLD hierarchy.

Weekly AfternicDLS Sales June 13 – June 19

Weekly Domains Sales Breakdown and Sample

Domain sales for the week of 6/13 – 6/19 included:

  • 94 .com sales of $2,000 or greater with 11 sales of $5,000 or greater
  • There were an additional 145 .com sales in the $1-2,000 range
  • For non-.com sales: there were 17 sales of $2,000 or greater, with 21 additional sales in the $1-2,000 range

Notable sales included chart toppers: met.net at $22,500,  xcite.com at $18,000, websitesolutions.com at $15,800, pps.net at $15,000 and beatstream at $12,000.

Domains sold for the week, including unreported private sales totaled 455. Sales in three categories accounted for more than 35% of sales: computers, society and shopping.


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Weekly AfternicDLS Sales June 6 – June 12

Weekly Domains Sales Breakdown and Sample

Domain sales for the week of 6/06 – 6/12 included:

  • 110 .com sales of $2,000 or greater with 25 sales of $5,000 or greater
  • There were an additional 136 .com sales in the $1-2,000 range
  • For non-.com sales: there were 22 sales of $2,000 or greater, with 17 additional sales in the $1-2,000 range

Notable sales included chart toppers: chop.com at $60,000, and Antonio.net at $11,000.

Domains sold for the week, including unreported private sales totaled 455. Sales in three categories accounted for more than 35% of sales: shopping, business and computers.

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Weekly AfternicDLS Sales May 30 – June 5

Weekly Domains Sales Breakdown and Sample

Domain sales for the week of 5/30 – 6/05 included:

  • 90 .com sales of $2,000 or greater, with 14% of sales topping $5,000
  • There were an additional 105 .com sales in the $1-2,000 range
  • For non-.com sales: there were 15 sales of $2,000 or greater, with 10 additional sales in the $1-2,000 range

Notable sales included chart toppers: apsu.com at $15,500, and promdesses.org at $11,500.

Domains sold for the week, including unreported private sales totaled 426. Sales in three categories accounted for more than 35% of sales: business, computers and recreation.

Hilighted sales from this past week:

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Domain sales for the week of 5/30 – 6/05 included:

· 90 .com sales of $2,000 or greater, with 14% of sales topping $5,000

· There were an additional 105 .com sales in the $1-2,000 range

· For non-.com sales: there were 15 sales of $2,000 or greater, with 10 additional sales in the $1-2,000 range

Notable sales included chart toppers: apsn.com at $15,500, and promdesses.org at $11,500.

Domains sold for the week, including unreported private sales totaled 426. Sales in three categories accounted for more than 35% of sales: business, computers and recreation.